Friday, 7 November 2008


Last month, Canadians came through our 40th General Election. A recent survey I heard about said that roughly three-quarters of Canadians were not happy with the experience. I understand that; I certainly was not happy at all.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, lusting after a majority government, finally thought he saw his chance in September. Conservative popularity reached about 40 per cent -- enough to win a majority. So Harper called the election -- even though he (apparently) broke the law on fixed election dates, which Conservatives had introduced, and which became law this spring. He said he needed the election because Parliament was dysfunctional, hoping people would forget that he was the one largely responsible for the dysfunction.

We had a $300+ million, five-week waste of time, money, and energy. The election brought no significant change in Parliament. The no-longer-progressive Conservatives still form a minority government. The Liberals are still the Official Opposition. The Bloc Quebecois is in third place. The NDP is fourth. The Greens still haven’t elected a member. Some parties gained/lost seats, but not enough to change anything.

And the legality of the election will be argued before the Federal Court of Canada.

The most significant thing about election is the loss of democratic activity. Two voters out of five did not, would not, or could not vote (in some cases because of new election rules). That's even worse than in the Presidential and related elections in the U.S., at the beginning of November. From the numbers, Mr. Harper’s Conservatives enjoy the support of only one voter out of five -- hardly a ringing endorsement, though Harper sees it as such.

What has happened to our political process? I’ve followed politics fairly closely for about 30 years. I’ve seen party policy conventions, election platforms, and politician’s actions. In so many cases, those actions bear little or no resemblance whatsoever to what “grass roots” people deliberated and decided at policy conventions. Is it any wonder that citizens become discouraged by what they see politics over principle or party over principle?

And what happens when the membership of a parliament or provincial assembly bears no resemblance to the number of votes a party gets in an election? Further discouragement. That's what happens in our "first past the post" electoral system, as opposed to a proportional representation system.

It seems that people are losing interest -- and losing confidence -- in our current electoral systems and parties. As decision-making move further and further away from ordinary citizens, those citizens notice the difference, the distancing. And they often conclude that ordinary citizens are irrelevant in the overall scheme of fulfill their roles as citizens?

I believe it’s up to the politicians to address that problem, along with Canada’s people. -- and to do that sooner than later.

Will that happen? Don’t bet the farm on it.

(These thoughts were originally published in The Western Producer, in a different form.)

CANADIAN FASCISM (Part 2 - Background)

If you want to check more on Fascism, here's a good link: Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism. I trust you will find this information interesting and useful, and at least a start in understanding what Fascism really entails.

There is also a web site dedicated to explaining how Fascism in, or may be, evolving in the United States of America. See: 14 Points of Fascism: The Warning Signs.
This link originates with the "Project for the Old American Century," whose main page concludes with a quotation from Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator of the 1940s: "Fascism should rather be called corporatism, as it is the merging of government and corporate power." (See About POAC) This does not mean that the American experience is the same as the Canadian experience, but a comparison may be instructive.